Davis Cup 2021 Predictions
The Davis Cup returns in 2021 after an interruption to the 120-year-old competition in 2020 – will Spain be able to hold on to the title?
One of tennis’s most iconic competitions, the Davis Cup, first played in 1900, underwent a radical re-vamp in 2019 as the long-standing system of home-and-away ties played over four weekends throughout the season was replaced a week-long ‘Finals’ event held at a neutral venue.
The inaugural Davis Cup Finals took place at Madrid’s Caja Magica in November 2019 and saw a Spanish team led by Rafael Nadal and an inspired Roberto Bautista Agut claim the title.
The 2020 Davis Cup Finals were rescheduled to 2021 due to the global pandemic, but the qualifying rounds had already been played and the draw conducted and released, so we know which teams will be playing and the groups for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals, to be played in Madrid from 22-28 November 2021.
Davis Cup Finals 2021 Draw
|Group||Top seed||Second seed||Third seed|
|C||France||Great Britain||Czech Republic|
Canada: 2019 finalists to go one better in 2021?
Currently joint favourites with Spain for the 2021 Davis Cup title, Canada boast a youthful team who look likely to prove an even more impressive combination in 2021 than they did in 2019.
At the inaugural Davis Cup Finals, Spain drew on the combination of Denis Shapovalov and veteran Vasek Pospisil to propel them to the final, with occasional assists from Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime made three ATP Tour finals in 2020, while the 21-year-old Shapovalov broke into the top 10 for the first time after reaching the US Open quarterfinals, so both young men continue to develop and impress with big servers Pospisil and Milos Raonic potentially backing them up. Canada also have a soft draw for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals, in a group with Kazakhstan and Sweden, so look guaranteed to reach the knockout stages at least.
Runners-up in the last ‘traditional’ Davis Cup, France failed to make it out of their group at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, partly thanks to being drawn in a group with Serbia.
France have been granted a wildcard for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals, but for a famously deep Davis Cup nation, they might struggle – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils are all showing their age, while Benoit Paire is mercurial and unreliable and younger talents like Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the oft-injured Lucas Pouille, Ugo Humbert and Hugo Gaston have yet to step up. Still, France have a decent draw with Great Britain and Czech Republic (a long way removed from their days as a Davis Cup powerhouse) in their group.
Russia can boast two top-10 players at the time of writing, and furthermore, those two players – the junkballing, idiosyncratic Daniil Medvedev and the powerful, flat-hitting Andrey Rublev – look likely to take firm root there for some time to come.
Even without Medvedev, who pulled out, Rublev and powerful Karen Khachanov combined well enough to put Russia in the semifinals of the 2019 Davis Cup Finals. Unfortunately for them, they have been drawn in the same group as Spain for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals, but even if Medvedev, Rublev and Khachanov cannot combine to beat Spain, they should have a chance to still make the elimination stages if they can score an emphatic enough victory over Ecuador.
Defending champions Spain were led by Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut in 2019, and even the tragic, unexpected death of Bautista Agut’s father couldn’t stop the home team from sweeping to victory.
They will have a great chance to do so again in 2021 if Nadal is fit, and even if he isn’t, Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta – a US Open semifinalist in 2020 – should be able to combine to good effect.
The draw has not obviously been too friendly to Spain, with Russia in their group, but like Russia they will have the chance to qualify as one of the best second-place teams even if they should lose to the Russian combination of Medvedev-Rublev-Khachanov.
Davis Cup 2021 Tips
We know the deep Davis Cup nations that look like they will be strong in 2021 – Spain, Russia, Canada – but it’s also worth taking a careful look at the draw when considering potential champions at the Davis Cup Finals next November.
With defending champions Spain (4/9 @ 888Sport) and 2019 semifinalists Russia (33/20 @ 888Sport) drawn into the same group, that tie is obviously going to be very significant, with the loser potentially not able to even make it into the knockout stages.
Group D, with both Croatia and Australia, could also be a key one, while Group F contains Serbia, Germany and Austria: If all three nations field their top players, we could see Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem all facing off in singles in the space of a few days.
Meanwhile, Canada (4/9 @ 888Sport, and in Group B with Kazakhstan and Sweden), France (1/2 @ 888Sport, in Group C with Great Britain and Czech Republic) and Italy (33/1 @ 888Sport, with Jannik Sinner to supplement Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini, and in Group E with USA and Colombia) all look fairly guaranteed to make the elimination stages.
If Russia had a better draw, their combination of Medvedev, Rublev and Khachanov would look fairly unbeatable, but a group clash with Spain could be fatal to either side’s chances.
After their performance at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, and the continued development shown by Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime in 2020, coupled with a favourable draw, Canada look extremely worth backing to win the Davis Cup in 2021.